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You are here: Home News and media CMC media releases CMC statement: investigation into compensation payout to Snr Sgt Hurley — 07.09.2011
You are here: Home News and media CMC media releases CMC statement: investigation into compensation payout to Snr Sgt Hurley — 07.09.2011
You are here: Home News and media CMC media releases CMC statement: investigation into compensation payout to Snr Sgt Hurley — 07.09.2011

CMC statement: investigation into compensation payout to Snr Sgt Hurley — 07.09.2011

The Crime and Misconduct Commission has finalised a misconduct investigation into an allegation that Queensland police officer Senior Sergeant Christopher Hurley misappropriated an overpayment of $34,980 by the Queensland Police Service.

The overpayment related to Snr Sgt Hurley’s property which was destroyed by fire during a riot on Palm Island in 2004.

The CMC’s investigation focused on two aspects relating to the compensation payout — the allegation of fraud against Snr Sgt Hurley and the QPS’s administration of public monies.

The CMC has obtained advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that a criminal prosecution against Snr Sgt Hurley for fraud is not warranted.

After carefully considering the matter, the Commission has decided that for the same reasons considered by the DPP, any disciplinary action for misconduct against Snr Sgt Hurley could not be supported.

The allegation against Snr Sgt Hurley was first raised in The Australian newspaper in
May 2008 and subsequently investigated by the QPS.

The media report suggested that Snr Sgt Hurley had been twice compensated for his property losses. The information suggested that he had submitted the same claim to both his insurer and the QPS and each of them had paid him compensation of $34,980 and $102,955 respectively, for the claimed loss of $102,955.

The CMC reviewed the police investigation report and found an absence of relevant documentation from the QPS detailing the basis for and the authorisation of the special payment to Snr Sgt Hurley.

In May 2010 the CMC commenced its own investigation into the allegation. Witness statements and relevant financial and business records were obtained. The investigation ultimately found that the QPS had mistakenly made an overpayment of $34,980 to Snr Sgt Hurley.

The evidence raised a question whether Snr Sgt Hurley had misappropriated the overpayment in circumstances that could amount to fraud under Section 408C Criminal Code.

Consistently with its obligations the CMC prepared a brief of evidence for consideration by the DPP. After obtaining independent advice the DPP advised that no criminal charges were warranted. The CMC has accepted the DPP’s advice.

The CMC’s investigation also raised concerns about the QPS’s expenditure of public funds, in particular in relation to compensation to QPS members.

The evidence indicated that the decision to make the payment to Snr Sgt Hurley was poorly documented and that the payment was not made in compliance with the requirements of the QPS Financial Management Practice Manual.

Additionally, the person responsible for authorising the payment to Snr Sgt Hurley did not hold the appropriate financial delegation to make such a decision.

As a result of the investigation, the CMC has made several recommendations to ensure that public confidence is maintained in the QPS and its administration of public monies.

The Police Commissioner has agreed with the CMC’s recommendation that the QPS assess and take steps to recover any remaining overpayment to Snr Sgt Hurley.

The QPS has also agreed to review its policies, procedures and risk management treatments to ensure compliance with its legislative obligations under the Financial Accountability Act 2009.

Last updated: 06 December 2011

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